Saturday, February 28, 2009

Lent '09 - Day 4: "Teacher, what should we do?"

John the Baptist had a knack for putting people on edge. He certainly wasn't a people pleaser. He probably didn't tell people what they wanted to hear, but he told them what they needed to hear: "the ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire" (Luke 3:9). This gets people scared, and they ask a great question: "What should we do?"

The three groups he responds to are all people of means (which is an important theme in Luke). To the crowd he says, the man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same." To the tax collectors, "don't collect anymore than you're required to." To the soldiers, "don't extort money and don't accuse people falsely -- be content with your pay."

There's a strong exhortation to take what you need, and share the rest. Having double of something provides security and versatility, but those luxuries pale in comparison to providing for the one who has none.

There is so much that can talked about concerning money, but there isn't the time now to do it. One small thing I have been thinking about is savings. We know Kara wants to go back to school and that it's going to cost money to do so, therefore we save. But putting money in a bank account where it isn't doing anything other than collecting a few percent of interest doesn't seem very smart. It provides security because we can quickly access it, but with so much need around us, surely there must be a better way.

Have you heard of Kiva? This organization looks absolutely perfect for putting savings to good work. After I get our taxes done, I want to try it out, but I would love to hear if anyone else has experience with it. After experimenting, I'll be sure to write up my experience and why I think it's compelling.

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